August, 2015 -Winchester Heights, Willcox, Cochise County
More than 60 community members, at least half of whom were school-aged children, participated in back to school safety activities sponsored by SEAHEC and the University of Arizona’s Border Health Service Learning Program. Staffed and organized by UA health professions students and community health workers (CHWs) from SEAHEC’s Healthy Farms Program, the Health Fair provided health information for local families and learning opportunities for health professions students.
UA Health Professions Students and Healthy Farms CHWs engaged local children in safety role plays, bicycle safety and “stranger danger” awareness. Partners in the activities included the Chiricahua Community Health Center, donating backpacks and school supplies, and the Cochise County Health and Social Services, contributing seating and tents. The U of A students and community health workers cleaned and prepared bus stops for installation.
“Service learning” is part of SEAHEC’s scope of work. By incorporating public health students into a day (or more) of service in rural, border communities we engage them to work side by side with community members to address priority health issues. Promotion of “back to school safety” for community members and installation of school bus stop shelters has been part of their “service learning” activity, in which students collaborated with SEAHEC’s “Healthy Farms” community health workers to identify and address local health issues. Last year, SEAHEC’s Healthy Farms CHWs collaborated with health professions students to install two bus shelters for school children, just down the street from where the health fair was held. Before the bus shelters were installed, children waited in the blazing heat, dust and rain for the school bus, with no protection. Now, they have a safe and secure place to wait.
SEAHEC’s Healthy Farms program was established in 2009, to recruit and train local farm workers to become Cochise County’s first team of farm based community health workers. The CHWs provide community health education, referrals to services and collect data on community identified health issues, which is used in planning future activities. For the past three years, The Arizona Community Foundation of Cochise, (formerly the Cochise Community Foundation) has provided support for the program. In October, 2015, we received another award from the foundation that will support further development of the program, and provide more “service learning” opportunities for health professions students. SEAHEC would like to thank the Arizona Community Foundation of Cochise, for their continuing support in helping us improve access to health services in southern Arizona.
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